10 Feb How to plan for a great publication
When you plan your publication this year, choose to make use of custom design. By investing in good design for your publication, you ensure that it makes an impact and brings your message across. And here’s the good news: “custom” does not have to mean “expensive”. If you plan ahead, do your research and make timeous decisions, it won’t cost an arm and a leg.
To make your life easier, we’ve put together this guide on how to plan and budget for your next publication.
If you are not lucky enough to have somebody on your team that is good with words, you might consider outsourcing this. Provide us with an outline of what you need, and we will do the rest.
The cost: Depending on the amount of research needed, writing can cost anything from R1 to R4 per word.
Avoid scope creep: Make sure to brief the writer correctly. What you put in is what you get out – if the brief is hard to understand and unclear, the end result will likely not be good.
You can have the best argument in the chatroom, but if your spelling is bad, it will likely get lost in a sea of grammar fanatics. The same counts for publications. Something as simple as the word “pubic” instead of “public” can ruin the best intentions. And while spell check can sort through most errors, it will not pick up everything. Even AI will not get this right – you need human intuition. We can go into various examples here (and believe us, there are many), but the point is: don’t skimp on proofreading. Whether you do it in-house or we do it for you, you need to make sure the person doing it knows what they are doing.
The cost: We usually charge around R0.30–0.50 per word for basic proofreading. This does not include rewriting and restructuring (this would cost more).
Avoid scope creep: Always try to provide your proofreader with the FINAL copy. Once they have gone through it, it will take double the time (and your money) to do it again.
Time needed: Depending on studio capacity (and lead time), it is fair to expect about 10 000 words per day. Include an extra day should there be revisions.
In the same way that good writing will keep a reader engaged, great design is what will convince your reader to read the article in the first place. Look at the example below. Before the text went to design, it was presented as a complicated table. The best design outcome was to show the data via a detailed timeline, stretching over four pages.
Above: A peek into the infographic-packed Rugby World Cup book we designed for author Hankie Vogel. Rugby: The Tournament is available to purchase on Amazon as a paperback or e-book.
At the same time, design doesn’t have to be complicated. You do not need to include intricate infographics (even if we really want you to!) to get your point across. Sometimes, it simply means adding hierarchy and order with colour. See below.
Above: The copy provided, versus the final result.
Whether you would need an entry-level design, as above, or more complicated, infographic-driven layouts, we’ve got you covered. The cost breakdown below makes room for both.
The cost: We can do anything from R120 to R650 per page, depending on the complexity of the design and your budget. This cost will be agreed upon upfront, to avoid any budgetary surprises later.
Avoid scope creep: Always try to provide your designer with the FINAL copy before they start layout. It will take more time (and money) to redo designs caused by significant copy changes. It also helps to be very clear with feedback, and to brief properly from the beginning to ensure the designer has a good understanding of your expectations.
Time needed: Depending on studio capacity, lead time given and the complexity of design, our designers can do about 8-10 pages per day. Include an extra week for revisions.
Professional printing and retouching
Nothing says “I’m working out of my parents’ garage” more than a DIY print job. If you have the budget, get it printed professionally. If you don’t, keep it online. And if you do have the budget for printing, let us set up your files to be optimised for printing. This means that images, illustrations and diagrams will be retouched to be pixel perfect for printing or for web use. It means nothing will cut off or shift around in print – say goodbye to any printing nightmares you might have experienced in the past.
We do not do printing in-house, but we have preferred suppliers we’ve been working with for over 15 years that we can recommend. We can also offer a full print management service where we will oversee the whole print process on your behalf.
The cost: Retouching and preparing files for print comes to 10% of the final design cost. Printing varies depending on quantities, paper quality and finishes, but we will source estimates on your behalf.
Avoid scope creep: Plan how much content you’ll have in the publication – and therefore how many pages – and try to stick with it. Draw up a “flat plan” with our help to determine the amount of pages. Also be mindful of the printing process and how it works: your page count must always be divisible by four. Also make sure to sign off on the final version before it goes to print. Once it has hit the rollers, there is not much you can do to remedy mistakes, short of retractions or complete reprints.
Time needed: Allocate at least 10 to 12 working days for printing.
In addition to (or instead of) printing your publication, there are various platforms available to host it online. Instead of simply uploading the PDF to your website, consider using a publication website like ISSUU.com. Here, you can include interactive links and view detailed analytics for your publication.
The cost: You can try out a free version of software such as ISSUU, but to get the full analytics experience, a subscription is best. These range from $20-40 per month, if paid annually. Also keep in mind that we will ask a production cost to make your PDF web-ready (this includes inserting links, optimising colours and, in some cases, converting the document to an Epub).
Avoid scope creep: Decide from the beginning whether you are going to host online, and plan accordingly. If you, for example, would like to sell your publication online as an ebook, this will have cost implications on design level. Rather equip yourself with knowledge before finalising your budget.
Our brains crave infographics. This is simply because these visual information tools are more engaging than plain text. Take the below as an example.
Which of the following pieces of text would you like to engage with? The plain text, or the colourful, fun, organised version of the same information?
Above: The above is a before (left) and after (right) from a publication we compiled and designed for Momentum Metropolitan to train their managers in Labour law.
The cost: The short answer here is: it depends. If every page in the book will need to showcase complex information, the per page rate would be higher. If it is only a page here or there, we will take that into account in the costing. It also depends on the complexity of the infographic and whether you need us to compile the information for it. It can be anything from R2500 to R8000 per infographic, or around R550 per page if all pages need to include infographics.
Avoid scope creep: If you have a particular idea of how something should be presented, ensure you make this clear in the brief. This way, we do not go the opposite direction of what you intended. Often, we start by doing a rough draft or sketch before going ahead with a design.
Time needed: This depends on the complexity. A design like the above example could take two to three working days if all the information has been provided.
Read more about the power of infographics here.
In a country with 11 official languages (and at least 24 others), your publication will undoubtedly reach a larger audience if it is published in various languages. We can incorporate any translations you need and create these as extra versions of your publication.
The cost: We ask a once-off fee of around R60 to R180 per page (depending on page count and complexity) to apply translations to the layout and export this as a separate document. In-house, we offer English to Afrikaans translations and translations between US and UK English. We can source and manage translations to other languages on your behalf.
Avoid scope creep: Make sure that the version provided for translation is the final (FINAL) version. Especially when you are translating to multiple languages, it can cause tremendous amounts of extra work if the base content changes without warning.
Time needed: Provide for at least a week of lead time for the actual translation to be done, and for two to three business days to implement this on layout.
All in all, we like to think that custom design is worthwhile if you’re looking to create a unique publication. And, now that you know what to keep in mind, you can make an informed decision on whether or not to go for it. (DO IT! We promise it will be worth it.)
Every publication is different, and the above is just a guideline for pricing and timelines. For an accurate estimate of what your publication will cost, contact us!
Please note: The prices and times estimated in this blog should serve as a guideline and are subject to change. Prices displayed are before VAT.